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Author Topic: Change of Licensing from Version 2 (Cancelled)  (Read 27163 times)
Markham
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« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2010, 02:36:17 PM »

I really feel for the software developers who try to offer good freeware.  Especially since joining this forum and getting to know developers, I really value the work you guys (and gals!) do.  I have no problem happily paying for good software.  I've never understood how freeware authors can sustain the development of their programs without charging for it.  I'm not a programmer, but I know that it's too much work to not get paid for it.  i don't understand that at all.

I wish mouser would take my money for his software that I use every single day.  I wish some of you guys would charge $20 or so for your stuff.  It just doesn't make any sense to me any other way.  People in this world are getting paid a lot of money for doing a lot less.

I have a hard time understanding how the freeware model can sustain itself.  I can't justify working that hard, putting out a quality product, giving up hours of your life that you can be getting paid for doing other work...and in the end just get by on donations.  If people can get it for free, they will.  There's no way around that.  You have to force them to pay, even if they are like me and they will pay graciously.

I understand that you want to be charitable and offer free stuff for everyone out there, out of the goodness of your hearts.  But it frustrates me because I don't want the situation being described here to happen.  I don't want the developers to feel like they are not being appreciated or feel frustrated.  I want you guys getting money for this work, it's good work.  You need to get rewarded financially for this stuff.  There's so much crappy software out there that people are paying for, you can't do it for free.  I feel like those other developers are laughing at you.  They do shit and get paid, you guys work hard and produce awesome software, and you only get a few little donations.  Please make us pay you!

Anyway, I really feel for you all.  I love software.  I love these little tools that make my life so much easier.  I love it a lot.  The service you guys provide is something I always will appreciate.
Thank you!

I don't believe the freeware model can survive in the medium to long term. Things in life tend to go in cycles. First there was only commercial software, then came along "shareware" and "try before you buy", then "freeware" and finally "postcardware" and "donationware". Releasing your stuff as freeware is all very well if the program is small and easy to maintain. Circle Dock's source code is now running into hundreds of thousands of lines split between 30 or so modules. It is neither small nor, given its shere size, that easy to maintain. But it's far easier for me to maintain that code now than when I first became involved with it almost a year ago.

I know many people are sick of paying high prices for software that doesn't work as documented - and even sicker when they find out that they have to pay an upgrade charge for the next version that fixes some of the bugs - but inevitably introduces new ones. And I do have a particular software company in mind! However many of those same people seem to expect that authors who do not charge for their software to be held accountable to the same degree as commercial developers. There have been several occasions where a user has reported a bug, I fix it and reply that the fix will be included in the next release and for them to almost demand to know when that release will be made - as if I must make releases available as soon as each bug is fixed or each new feature added!

The Register, an online computer industry daily newspaper, has coined a term for such users; I will leave it to your research to discover what that term is, if you don't already know.

My advice to any author is think very carefully before releasing any software with a GPL (or similar) license. If in doubt, don't!



Mark
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wraith808
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« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2010, 02:52:53 PM »

Um, you'd also have to offer sourcecode for YOUR binary build (aka latest circle dock!)
That's how it works, unfortunately. It was kind of expected, tho.

Not if he stops working on it and removes it from the market.  And also not if he removes all GPL code from any new build of CD that he does.
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app103
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« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2010, 02:56:01 PM »

Um, you'd also have to offer sourcecode for YOUR binary build (aka latest circle dock!)
That's how it works, unfortunately. It was kind of expected, tho.

Not if he stops working on it and removes it from the market.  And also not if he removes all GPL code from any new build of CD that he does.

I just downloaded the latest version. Am I not entitled to the source? It is not posted anywhere on the site.
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scancode
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« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2010, 02:56:27 PM »

Um, you'd also have to offer sourcecode for YOUR binary build (aka latest circle dock!)
That's how it works, unfortunately. It was kind of expected, tho.

Not if he stops working on it and removes it from the market.  And also not if he removes all GPL code from any new build of CD that he does.

I just downloaded the latest version. Am I not entitled to the source? It is not posted anywhere on the site.
+1
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wraith808
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« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2010, 03:10:21 PM »

So he's in violation and has to stop distributing it, by what the license says. /me shrugs
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app103
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« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2010, 03:15:37 PM »

My advice to any author is think very carefully before releasing any software with a GPL (or similar) license. If in doubt, don't!

I would also suggest the same for anyone that is considering contributing to or taking over a GPL licensed project.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2010, 04:43:02 PM »


Just a comment,

I'm sure that it's unintended but, to me, the direction of this topic is starting to look a bit like ingratitude.

Perhaps we should ask Markham what we could do to further the project.

In fact:

@Markham & Sarge: In your opinion, what could we do to further the project?
We did raise some donations for you recently, which you then generously assigned to the NANY prize.
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Chris
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« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2010, 06:54:43 PM »

Just a comment,

I'm sure that it's unintended but, to me, the direction of this topic is starting to look a bit like ingratitude.

Oh my cranioscopical, take heart my friend, and all of you.
I do not see anything in the comments today that I would even begin to consider as ingratitude. Just serious concern.
Concern for Markham, Myself, VideoInPicture's Legacy, and Circle Dock.  Kiss
I would be concerned if the response was anything else.

What could this community do that it has not already done?
Support from users and non-users alike.
Donations
Encouragement
Support about a year ago, when I was dealing with personal issues and was unable to support Eric Wong's (our beloved VIP) legacy and keep the support going myself.
Others committing code
All these things have already been done

This community has done everything that is possible, up to the point of placing itself in possible financial risks. I can not go into any great detail here as it is not my place, but know that we have never failed to know that if we needed it, the support of the entire community would be at our beck and call. I have never doubted that.
Along the way we have made great new friends in the community. Archon Of Fate, christofarian, bbc999 just to mention a short list, and all of these folks have contributed and continued in the community to support and help, both Circle Dock and Donationcoder  Kiss

I believe that someone here is absolutely correct in the recommendation of giving license(s) to those that have Donated.
I was keeping that Idea to myself as a surprise....Oops; Cats out now  embarassed

If anyone knows anything about Bizspark by Microsoft, I would love to get some further information.

As many of you know, doing what many of us do is not easy or cheap, and made less so by Markham being retired, and myself applying for SSI (currently in appeals), Neither of us are looking for profit as much as we are looking to cover costs. To expand Circle Dock, and this comes at no small expense.
So much so, that it is more of a cost than this community can bear.
So it is up to Circle Dock to find a way to be self supportive, or go into dormancy; again.

I for one can tell you that I will not be leaving Donationcoder, regardless of how this turns out.
I have built 2 communities based on the lessons and feeling of community here, and I have so much love and respect for so many members here, that I will not readily give that up.
I will protect VIP's Legacy to the best of my ability, even if that means returning to the original source  embarassed
I will also continue as I have done, and seek out VIP as I have continuously done for well over a year and a half now  Thmbsup
Besides; Mouser has asked for my help on a project  tellme

I want to thank you all for your support for, or against, and your comments.
Good, Bad, or indifferent; it is all what makes this community what it is.
Broad objective opinions, tempered with reality and honest thoughts.
This is show I see Donationcoder.com
Not to mention a really cool mascot  tongue

Tuesday through Friday is a really restrictive time frame for me, so I need time to assimilate all that has happened, and then speak with Markham objectively.

Give us time to talk, and seek our position(s)  Thmbsup
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Archon of Fate
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« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2010, 07:16:12 PM »

Well it appears i've been had  Grin
I Feel a bit dumb about my comments earlier...  Alot of good points were made today from everyone, and when it comes down to it I'd rather pay for CD than have it disappear so all I can say is that if 2.0 comes out I think i'll end up buying it  Kiss

thanks to all and regards,
Archon of Fate
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Markham
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« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2010, 11:25:12 PM »

I've just been through this thread again and I am quite heartened by the fact that more DC members appear to support the theory that software should be paid for in some way and by some means. Cranioscopical, I don't know who you are, but I do know you are a highly respected member and I hope you don't mind me revealing the fact that you have supported Circle Dock with more donations and kind words than anyone else. Thank you, sir!

What none of you perhaps realise - although mouser, the Sarge and I know only too well - is that since I released version 1 in January, downloads of Circle Dock have soared beyond our wildest dreams. Just prior to the release, mouser provided me with space on the sister dcmembers.com to host the downloads. In our naivety we thought that we'd only be supplying product to a couple of dozen or so users per day judging from hits to the wikidot site and here. The size of that release was around 15MB but the download volumes quickly rose from a few megabytes per day to several Gigabytes per day. Circle Dock's Google Ranking went from nothing to #5 almost overnight; I'm told it has recently gone up to #4.

We are averaging just over 1 Terabyte of downloads per month and here are the figures to date:

February: 1,047.16 GB
March: 1239.35 GB
April: 998.50 GB **
May: 1358.43 GB
June: 1058.25 GB
July: 1007.0 GB
August (1st-4th): 140.31 GB - projected: 1087.40 GB

** April's volume is slightly reduced as we redirected the download link posted here and on the wikidot site to another ISP as we wanted to establish if the statistics obtained from dcmembers was accurate. When the volumes from that secondary site are added to that for dcmembers, there's a close correlation with other months - ie: downloads well in excess of 1 Terabyte/month.

Over the last few weeks, mouser, the Sarge and I have been in discussions as to the future of Circle Dock's distribution. It is quite clear - and accepted by the Sarge and myself - that the bandwidth Circle Dock requires of the dcmembers server is not sustainable and poses a real threat to that server's reliability. However there are now more than one hundred direct links to the downloads posted on sites around the world so removing all traces of Circle Dock from dcmembers is not an option. In an attempt to alleviate the situation, I have split the installation into a number of "modules" and all except the core installer will be hosted elsewhere. The core installer simply contains the executable and a rather complex install script which downloads the required modules according to the type of installation being performed (ie: new user or update) and the user options selected. It is similar in nature to a "web installer".

I have investigated an number of alternative sites where we could host Circle Dock's downloads including SourceForge (where Eric Wong did open a Circle Dock Project), Mediafire, and CNet. They all have serious disadvantages and none is really geared up for multi-part distribution - which given the size of Circle Dock v2, is the only way forward. Therefore a dedicated site seems inevitable.

But here's the rub: who is to pay for that? Are you seriously suggesting that I should pay for hosting when I'm not receiving one brass penny in revenue? Well, it should come as no big surprise to you that I'm not about to do that. Isn't it enough that I devote my time, knowledge and resources to maintaining this product and incorporate new features requested by users, that I have already commissioned and paid for a new web site to be designed? I may have been born on a Sunday but it wasn't last Sunday!

To those of you who feel that they are automatically entitled to up to date source code, I will say this. Go to SourceForge and spend some time - as I have very recently - and take a look at the Projects there which are supposed to have GPL (or similar) licenses. Most of the projects are abandoned or haven't been worked-on for more than 6 months and of those that aren't, very few have source code available for download. I would suggest that it is because you and those who think and act like you aren't prepared to support such projects financially that the authors either give-up on good, worthwhile projects, or simply refuse to make their work publicly available free-of-charge.

It is highly doubtful that changing the licensing mechanism would have adversely affected the majority of users and almost certainly no one who reads these words. My IPR lawyer believes the GPL License to be unenforceable under English Law from both the Licensor's and Licensee's viewpoints and it certainly does not protect the author's intellectual property rights.

For my part, I will be removing all remaining GPL'd code from the program and will be relaunching it under a different name and Logo later this year. It will, alas, no longer be free beyond a free trial period but will be priced attractively and competitively and I will extend a free lifetime licence to all those who have donated to either myself or to the Sarge up to this point in time. If, however, you insist on a free, GPL'd version, you are welcome to download the source to Eric Wong's last public release and spend the next few months removing all the bugs - or simply use it as-is. A word of warning though: if you intend to distribute any copies of Circle Dock, you will have to compile using the paid-for version of Visual Studio as per Microsoft's licence. I will continue to answer questions posted on this Forum regarding Circle Dock's usage but there will be no further development of that program.




Mark

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phitsc
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« Reply #35 on: August 05, 2010, 02:33:40 AM »

According to the Express Edition FAQ you have been ill informed about using it for commercial projects. See here:

http://www.microsoft.com/.../Support/Support-faq.aspx

it says:

Quote
Can I use Express Editions for commercial use?
Yes, there are no licensing restrictions for applications built using Visual Studio Express Editions.
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phitsc
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« Reply #36 on: August 05, 2010, 02:49:23 AM »

Offering software for free has its advantages too. My main motivation for doing it is that it comes with no obligations. If someone finds a bug, or wants a feature, I could address it whenever time admits, or even ignore it altogether. Or abandon the project whenever I lost interest.

I understand that the same applies to commercial software. After all, you pay for what you get at the time you buy it. Nevertheless, I think I would feel obliged to support the software.

Obviously, the situation changes if you're spending more money on a project than what you think it gives you in return. And I'm not only talking about donations, but also about doing something you have fun doing, doing something which you can learn from, the regular pat on the shoulder, nice word from your fellow forum friends.

So I definitely support your decision to get rid of the initial Circle Dock code and release it under a different name, although, admittedly, I'm not a Circle Dock user embarassed
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« Reply #37 on: August 05, 2010, 03:45:55 AM »

It wasn't clear from your posts mark but perhaps you have already considered these:
Perhaps you could host the files on dropbox, google docs/ google sites (they accept all files now), ms skydrive, find a hosting sponsor, amazon s3 even, + offer it as a torrent to alleviate hosting costs. You could then redirect (with the help of the dcmembers sysadmin if desired) using htaccess the download link to the new location. Less costs and no missing files.

hope that helps and good luck in the future
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Markham
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« Reply #38 on: August 05, 2010, 05:01:55 AM »

Offering software for free has its advantages too. My main motivation for doing it is that it comes with no obligations. If someone finds a bug, or wants a feature, I could address it whenever time admits, or even ignore it altogether. Or abandon the project whenever I lost interest.

I understand that the same applies to commercial software. After all, you pay for what you get at the time you buy it. Nevertheless, I think I would feel obliged to support the software.

Obviously, the situation changes if you're spending more money on a project than what you think it gives you in return. And I'm not only talking about donations, but also about doing something you have fun doing, doing something which you can learn from, the regular pat on the shoulder, nice word from your fellow forum friends.

So I definitely support your decision to get rid of the initial Circle Dock code and release it under a different name, although, admittedly, I'm not a Circle Dock user embarassed
Having been a technical journalist in a previous life and actively involved in the "industry" since the early CP/M days, I know just how frustrating it is when you report a problem you've found to the software's authors and not get some sort of positive response. And, it's true to say, I'm a bit of a perfectionist: I don't like using software that's buggy and I don't expect my users to either.

I admit to being secretly proud of the fact that my efforts and those of the Sarge - who has done far more behind the scenes to promote Circle Dock that you might imagine - have resulted in a very popular piece of software. Perhaps we did our jobs far too well and we're now reaping the costs of success without any of the benefits.

I estimate that around 382,000 people have downloaded Circle Dock since the beginning of the year; if each had donated the cost of a Big Mac Meal (currently a shade under GBP 5.00 / $7.95), not only would all our past and present costs be repaid, but also those for at least a year ahead and we'd still be able to donate a sizable sum to charity - enough to cover the annual running costs of around 10 Lifeboats in the UK or be a substantial down-payment on a new one. As I've said before, neither the Sarge nor I are looking to get rich, simply cover our costs and expenses.




Mark

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tomos
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« Reply #39 on: August 05, 2010, 05:59:43 AM »

The way I see it, it's your call how you go from here. There's no need to be defensive about any decisions - sure, explain them etc. And if you want to try make a living from it even, why the hell not - as long as you take the necessary steps to distance it from the original.
Best of luck! smiley
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Tom
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« Reply #40 on: August 05, 2010, 07:29:41 AM »

The GPL might be unenforceable, but keep in mind it was a matter of respect. You're basically not giving a damn about what the original author wanted.
 thumb down from me.

So long, and thanks for [the lack of] all the fish.
To be honest, I expected more from a DC member.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #41 on: August 05, 2010, 08:44:03 AM »

The GPL might be unenforceable, but keep in mind it was a matter of respect. You're basically not giving a damn about what the original author wanted.
 thumb down from me.

So long, and thanks for [the lack of] all the fish.
To be honest, I expected more from a DC member.
huh ...That seems a bit harsh - I doubt the original author wanted someone to become a cash hemorrhaging martyr. The costs described above are quite real, and have to be covered in some fashion that preferable doesn't include bankruptcy.
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mouser
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« Reply #42 on: August 05, 2010, 08:48:33 AM »

sourceforge is very generous about hosting open source stuff, and is happy to let you host any number of files any way you like.  one of the advantages to going open source are the free hosting of places like sourceforge.
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wraith808
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« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2010, 08:59:09 AM »

The GPL might be unenforceable, but keep in mind it was a matter of respect. You're basically not giving a damn about what the original author wanted.
 thumb down from me.

So long, and thanks for [the lack of] all the fish.
To be honest, I expected more from a DC member.
huh ...That seems a bit harsh - I doubt the original author wanted someone to become a cash hemorrhaging martyr. The costs described above are quite real, and have to be covered in some fashion that preferable doesn't include bankruptcy.

+1 - Especially when CD doesn't resemble the original CD at all other than the concept, apparently.

If I take a dead GPL'd project, and use that source and project as an inspiration to build the same project, but with my own source, is my project now GPL'd?  I don't think so...
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« Reply #44 on: August 05, 2010, 09:29:26 AM »

while it does sadden me that this program will leave open source, I must say who am I to say that you don't deserve some sort of profit from this program.
after all these costs do need covering  embarassed

so all I can say is I now stand by your decision....

thanks to all that have developed and improved CD,
Archon of Fate
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2010, 09:41:42 AM »

Markham,

From what you have said, and taking a pragmatic view, it seems to me that you have only two choices.
Either charge a price for (your amended) CD that will cover your costs or close it down.

Personally, I'd favour the former, at least as an experiment. Would charging for CD really yield sufficient income to offset your costs? Can you be certain even of that?

It's irksome to find oneself embroiled in what seems a thankless task — I think many of us here have had that experience. Were it only that, the probable answer would be a change of attitude (and by that I intend no offence, simply the old 'if you can't change the circumstances, change your attitude' approach that helps keep many of us sane). Given that you are not covering your costs, however, it seems that you are faced with funding the project. In that case I'd say — speaking confidently from a base of complete ignorance — given your apparent desire to continue, go ahead and charge for it. Of course that depends on whether you're ready to withstand any license hassles that might surface; if so, full-ahead and damn the torpedoes.
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« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2010, 10:04:32 AM »

If I take a dead GPL'd project, and use that source and project as an inspiration to build the same project, but with my own source, is my project now GPL'd?  I don't think so...

You know, I thought I had read that the source had been completely rewritten, but I couldn't find it, so wondered if I had imagined it. If so, surely that makes a difference, does it not? But then again, I must have imagined it, otherwise it surely would have been mentioned in this thread before now.

Otherwise I have embargoed myself from talking about GPL because after all these years I am still confused about it.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2010, 10:07:06 AM by daddydave » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2010, 10:09:39 AM »

Personally, I'd favour the former, at least as an experiment. Would charging for CD really yield sufficient income to offset your costs? Can you be certain even of that?

I've been asking myself the same thing. We've had the discussion elsewhere on these forums. Unfortunately, download counts say little about how many people actually use the SW, and even less about how many would be willing to pay for it were it not free. Actually, being free is a great incentive to just download it and try it out.

Obviously, you won't know if it can generate enough revenue to cover the costs (or even generate some income) until you've tried.
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« Reply #48 on: August 05, 2010, 10:51:54 AM »

while it does sadden me that this program will leave open source, I must say who am I to say that you don't deserve some sort of profit from this program.
after all these costs do need covering  embarassed

so all I can say is I now stand by your decision....

thanks to all that have developed and improved CD,
Archon of Fate

Please; no one start kicking themselves here  ohmy

Archon; you have been one of our biggest new comer supporters. I would have tossed you, and several others, some free licenses anyways  Thmbsup

There is nothing to be ashamed of in all of this, just a learning experience.
For all of us, myself included  embarassed
Many times, we consider our wants without considering the potential costs, and not only do we get stuck in this habit, it becomes second nature, even I am guilty of this on a daily basis  embarassed

Be comforted my friend.
No one person is the problem unto themselves  Thmbsup
Even I have learned an incredibly valuable lesson in all of this  Kiss
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« Reply #49 on: August 05, 2010, 11:05:30 AM »

Markham,

From what you have said, and taking a pragmatic view, it seems to me that you have only two choices.
Either charge a price for (your amended) CD that will cover your costs or close it down.

Personally, I'd favour the former, at least as an experiment. Would charging for CD really yield sufficient income to offset your costs? Can you be certain even of that?

It's irksome to find oneself embroiled in what seems a thankless task — I think many of us here have had that experience. Were it only that, the probable answer would be a change of attitude (and by that I intend no offence, simply the old 'if you can't change the circumstances, change your attitude' approach that helps keep many of us sane). Given that you are not covering your costs, however, it seems that you are faced with funding the project. In that case I'd say — speaking confidently from a base of complete ignorance — given your apparent desire to continue, go ahead and charge for it. Of course that depends on whether you're ready to withstand any license hassles that might surface; if so, full-ahead and damn the torpedoes.

We have no idea either, But we will not know if we do not try  Thmbsup
It would be better to try and fail. This way we learn and expand.
Even if we try and succeed, then we learn as well.
Either way, we are all better for it, and I will be glad to document the journey right here at DC  Thmbsup

At the moment this is the route that we are leaning towards.
I have some business education and background, unfortunately Circle Dock is Global and not local, so many of the "Market Study" concept are not applicable. In this model, we will have to go live and have time to build.
Our recent efforts of collaboration With Dexpot (who already has a proven business license model) is a great step for us, and may be Circle Dock's (or what ever a future name may be) foot in the door.
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